The Crusades

Essay by Funkichik89College, UndergraduateA-, April 2008

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

Downloaded 14 times

The Crusades were a series of Holy Wars launched by Christians and Religious Rulers against the Muslims in the Middle East from 1096 to 1291. The origin of the word may be traced to the cross made of cloth and worn as a badge on the outer garment of those who took part in these enterprises.

The Crusaders used the Christian cross as their symbol. They believed that the symbol of the cross made them invincible against the armies of the Muslims. The word "Crusade" came from the Latin word for “cloth cross.” Eventually, the word "crusade" was used to describe the entire journey from Europe to the Holy Land. 1“Although the eastern Mediterranean area was conquered by the Aravs in the seventh century, Christians had been permitted to visit the sacred places in the Holy Land until 1071 when the Seljuk Turks swept in from Asia and defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert.

Seizing all of Asia Minor as well as the Holy Land the Seljuk Turks soon impeded Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem, forcing the Byzantine emperor, Alexius Comnenus, to ask Pope Urban II for help against the Turks in the early 1090s. The Pope viewed this request as a great opportunity. Not only could it restore Christian control over the Holy Land, but it also provided a means of domestic pacification that focused the aggression of the European nobility towards the Moslems instead of each other. In addition, coming to the aid of Byzantium held the possibility of a reunion between the eastern and western Churches after almost four decades of schism, thereby strengthening the western Church in general and the papacy in particular.

The response of the European nobility to Pope Urban's summons to retake the Holy Land was overwhelming; thousands who had meager prospects...